DR. BERNHARD ACHTERBERG
Our dear friend, colleague and Board member of the German Psychodrama Association, Dr. Bernhard Achterberg died very unexpectedly during his vacation in Poland on August 5th 1998, at the early age of 53.
Bernhard has been a well-known personality in the field of psychodrama for more than 25 years. Besides having been a lecturer and co-ordinator for social Sciences at Kassel University over the last 20 years, he worked closely with Ella Mae Shearon's Psychodrama Institute in Cologne both as a trainer and supervisor. He also represented the Institute for Ella Mae Shearon at FEPTO.
Bernhard was one of the initiators who established the field of supervision as a professional training unit at Kassel University. He was absorbed with the psychodramatic approach in supervision and tried to teach his students various ways to apply psychodrama techniques in the field of supervision.
A psychologist by training, he worked therapeutically with clients as well as university students at critical times in their lives. His students and trainees admired his patience and his capacity to encourage their creativity and originality. He tried to give every student a chance to develop their own point of view, even if it was not commonly accepted. This left him with a lot of theses to read and many diploma examinations to prepare.
Apart from his other activities, Bernhard took special interest in the development of psychotherapy in Eastern Europe and increased his activities in many countries in recent years. He was very much involved with the Bulgarian Psychodrama movement and ran regular training weekends there. He was also a Board member and secretary of the German Psychodrama Association since 1994.
In FEPTO, he had just taken on the task of editing the newsletter and was also looking forward to work on the Ethical Standards in Psychodrama Training Committee.
Many of us will remember Bernhard as a kind-hearted, warm and thoughtful person, being spontaneous and creative and at the same time very considerate and patient. Despite the pressure his many tasks and preoccupations must have put on him, he was full of curiosity and interest and always open to take on new responsibilities.
His close friends knew about his heart condition but did not succeed in persuading him to seek specialist medical advice. He finally decided to have a medical check-up after his holidays, which adds to the tragedy.
He was very much a person with a mind of his own, disliking any idea of institutional authority, injustice or suppression in any respect. He held high ethical and moral values, which was the topic of his doctorate.
The wide range of his activities, fields of interest plans for the future, so many files open and tasks unfinished indicate that he did not anticipate his sudden death.
We shall miss him a lot. He will leave a big gap in our team on the Board. We will have to find a way to carry on without him and life will be very diffe-rent.